AT least five school girls have been forcibly subjected to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in some five wards in Mara region, forcing some 60 to escape to a nearby safe house.
Making the revelation to reporters in Mugumu, Serengeti District in the region, Hope Safe House Manager Mr Daniel Misoji named the wards as Kebanchabancha, Nyamoko, Sedeko, Nyansurura and Rung’abure.
He added: “We have received a total of 65 girls who have escaped from what we call acts of Gender Based Violence (GBV). However, it is unfortunate that five of them have already been mutilated against their will.”
The safe house run by Hope for Girls and Women Tanzania (HGWT), a local non-governmental organization, seeking to end FGM and other acts of GBV in the region has been appealing to the residents to stop the practice and instead make the girls realize their dreams.
In narration, Mr Misoji said the forced FGM incidents occurred in the recent weeks, when the girls were on holidays, especially during the National Population and Housing Census days.
Elaborating, the manager added: “The girls were mutilated by the circumcisers, who knew very well that they were at home waiting to be counted…they took the advantage and ambushed them in their homes. This is a different story because in the past, they would gather the girls in one centre, but this time they ambushed them from one house to another in a very secretive way.”
Mr Misoji further said the affected children were received in the centre through the Police Force Gender and Children Desk in company of Social Welfare Officers in the district.
“The children are aged eight years and above and if you ask them how this happened, they would say their parents prepared them for the ritual, though they (children) were not aware when this was to take place,” he pointed out.
He added: “Once at our centre, we provide medical attention to those who have been abused. We also provide them with food, accommodation and clothes among other materials. Additionally, they are given access to education, which are rights of children, especially those who have been abused and these include school equipment, uniforms, exercise books and pens in order to motivate them to carry on with their education journeys.”
Reached for a comment, a number of the girls who escape to the centre blamed their parents for forcing them to undergo the FGM, but thanked the NGO for being ready to save them.